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Key points from Mark Zuckerberg's two days of testimony

Key points from Mark Zuckerberg's two days of testimony

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg emerged largely unscathed Wednesday (April 11) from two days of high-stakes hearings that saw United States lawmakers grill the billionaire over how the online giant feeds users' data to advertisers and chide him over privacy rights.

Tracking non-users: Democratic representative Kathy Castor of Florida pushed Zuck hard on the various ways that Facebook collects data on both users and non-users.

The issues of data privacy and control dominated the session, which was more focused and antagonistic than a Senate hearing the day before.

As for me, I have purged many of my apps, even Farmville had to go, and tightened the permissions I've granted to the ones I've kept, but I won't be deleting my profile.

In a survey of over 4,000 Yahoo Finance readers, 13% of respondents said they would be willing to pay $5 per month for a Facebook account that gave them more control of their personal data. When reached for clarification, a Facebook spokesman said Wednesday that the company's estimate already includes the possible other affected users.

Some members of Congress hold computer science degrees or other technical knowledge and were well-versed in the issues, drilling Zuckerberg about how Facebook tracks people who are not on the site and what changes the social media will make to protect user data.

Zuckerberg has taken questions on a range of issues, from fake news and terrorist content to Russian propaganda and data privacy, as USA lawmakers consider possible regulatory remedies.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I believe that with this case, if Facebook was resisting the US government about sharing the data of its users, it will not be resisting anymore. In the internet age, when big data has taken hold of almost every web-based service, from banking to dating apps, the ability to access third-party data to power your app is both a tremendously powerful and common business practice.

"This is proof to me that self-regulation simply does not work", Schakowsky said, according to The Guardian.

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"It's practically impossible these days to remain untracked in America, for all the good Facebook and the internet has brought", Castor concluded.

Zuckerberg started his testimony by reading from part of a prepared statement: "Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company", he said. Castor asked. "Congresswoman, yes", Zuckerberg said in an uneasy tone, before she cut him off. Richard Blumenthal, Conn., said during the hearing.

This kind of policy isn't unique to Facebook - many other companies, such as Netflix and Spotify, routinely mine data to market people's information.

I think the real deal about the hearing is the fact that the USA government has Facebook by the balls now.

However, contrary to the stand taken by CA, Facebook said that around 5.62 lakh people in India could have been impacted by the data breach undertaken allegedly by the political consultancy.

In another bruising exchange, Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from IL, asked Mr Zuckerberg: "Who is going to protect us from Facebook?". Investors rewarded him on Tuesday with the firm's biggest daily gain in almost two years, with its share price closing up 4.5 percent.

Zuckerberg agreed to the hearings as pressure mounted over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the company's own admission a year ago that it had been compromised by Russians trying to influence the 2016 election.

Facebook's business model is, as the executive clarified, that it runs ads, and it does that by letting companies target people based on their information. John Thune of South Dakota said Zuckerberg's company had a 14-year history of apologizing for "ill-advised decisions" related to user privacy.

"The internet is growing in importance around the world in people's lives, and I think that it is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation", he told lawmakers.